Great Hechser Tzedek Rebuttal

From Judeopundit/Soccerdad. Enjoy

 The current enthusiasm for reinventing all forms of regulatory oversight on the model of kosher supervision, while promising new levels of consumer-driven justice-advocacy never before attained, unfortunately has led to a number of serious abuses and violations of the Tikkun Olam-oriented, non-narrowly ritualistic aspects of the Torah. The question arises: Who, exactly, is overseeing the overseers?

We therefore propose the long-overdue, even though not yet thought-of, HECHSHER TAMIM. As Rabbi Morris Allen has so eloquently stated, “If we don’t connect [kashrut] to the world and the values we hold, then we fail to take kashrut at its core level.” Therefore the Hechsher Tamim proposes to broaden and extend kashrut supervision to the critical area of kashrut-expansion-advocacy itself.

Henceforth, any committee formulating standards, any seminar, any partnership-building session, any press-conference concerning the development of the social justice aspect of kashrut observance should be required to display its HECHSHER TAMIM CERTIFICATION CERTIFICATE before proceeding with its laudable activities.

To qualify as a certified individual, organization, or other entity in good standing, the applicant for supervision must undergo a rigorous inspection regime which focuses on the following six areas:

1. Violation of Ethical Mitzvot such as the prohibitions of motzi shem ra, rechilut, and hasagat g’vul: Has the applicant encouraged an atmosphere in which warmed-up allegations about a certain meat-packing facility are being served up with reckless abandon?

2. Vagueness: All applicants for the Hechsher Tamim certification certificate shall be examined to make sure that no vague and undefined references to the ethical mitzvot of the Torah have been made. Statements such as “I would think you would be interested in promoting important mitzvot such as having just weights and measures” or questions such as “Don’t you care about Choshen Mishpat?” will result in the immediate disqualification of the applicant. Applicants must show that the *specific* standards promoted have a Torah-basis and address the question of *specific* methods of implementation.

3. Neo-Kara’ism: The following sort of statement will immediately disqualify the applicant: “I would suggest to you that the Torah says little about glatt kosher meat; says little about halav Yisroel, says little about the time we are to wait between fleishiks and milchiks to name just a few.”

4. Trend-chasing: Statements such as “the relationship between religion and food is changing, and not just in Judaism” will immediately disqualify the applicant.

5. Sanctimony: The inspection will search for problematic elements such as spurious claims to broadmindedness, and the cultivation of an accusatory tone that equates all criticism and skepticism over the certification scheme with lack of concern for working conditions and other social justice matters.

6. Inanity: Statements such as “All religions, Jewish and non-Jewish, are increasingly narrow in their focus” will immediately disqualify the applicant.

Tamim tiheyeh im Hashem Elokecha! (Devarim 18:13)

And remember, if you don’t think this is a good idea, you must not really care about the ethical dimension of the Torah.

A Not So Humble Angel

Where is the line drawn between an activist and an antisemite? Diane Reaves aka Humble Angel seems determined to help redefine it. Diane Reaves, often going by the user name Humble Angel online, is a Lakewood resident, apparently a Fundamentalist Christian, who spends a major chunk of her time offline and online obsessed with the Jews.

Community changes are never fun but there’s a point when obsessing about it crosses the line into being a bigoted nutjob and whether she calls herself Diane Reaves or Humble Angel, she’s crossed that line long ago.

If you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to encounter Diane Reaves / Humble Angel ,you’ll notice that she’s obsessed with one thing and it’s Jews.  Creating her own forums and trolling other peoples, she occasionally attempts to pass of her burning animosity toward the Lakewood Jewish community as opposition to illegal immigration which she blames on the Jews but a quick search shows Diane Reaves / Humble Angel posting just about anything negative she can find about the Lakewood Jewish community, regardless of whether it involves illegal immigration.

When the Jamarr Dickerson vs Elchonon Zimmerman case came up in Lakewood, Diane Reaves slash Humble Angel went into a frenzy posting the article on many forums and babbling about how the Jews get away with anything. Ironically for a supposed advocate against illegal immigration’s impact on communities, Diane Reaves took sides against a home owner and with a teenager who trespassed on his property and attacked him.

But then again Diane Reaves’ antipathy toward Jews has nothing to do with logic but is the venomous undercurrent to her phony sugary persona which she uses to try and pass the venom underneath as something innocuous. There’s something really repulsive about seeing someone with a flying angel avatar and using names like Humble Angel spend all her time spreading hate on and off the internet against a group that her own bible tells her to love.

My advice to anyone on immigration forums is not to let Diane Reaves or Humble Angel hijack the discussion with her rants about Jews. She is not an opponent of illegal immigration which is a problem created by contractors and homeowners of all races and religions and corporations that look for cheap labor but an opponent of Jews for her own reasons. She’s simply a bigot hiding behind a sickly sweet facade. Illegal immigration hurts Orthodox Jews as much as it hurts anyone else.  Her interest is not in illegal immigration as in Jews.

Hechsher Tzedek: What a Scam!

I’m not a conservative and I’m not a liberal. I’m just a Jew and I get mad as hell when liberals and conservatives try repackaging their politics as Judaism. I’m mad when Rabbi Avigdor Miller or Rabbi Daniel Lapin did/do it. I’m mad when Rabbi Eric Yoffe or Rabbi Joshua Hammerman does it. It’s obscene and it’s a scam. Vote for whoever you want but don’t come back from the Republican or Democratic conventions trying to claim that your politics should be our religion. It’s not. Not even if you’re a Rabbi.

Don’t try and repackage the agenda of the Republican Party as Judeo-Christian Values. Don’t try and repackage the agenda of the Democratic Party as Prophetic Values. It’s a scam. And Hechsher Tzedek is a scam and will always be a scam no matter how many quotes its supporters drag out of context to try and promote it. It’s bad enough that Reform Judaism is indistinguishable from the Democratic Party. It’s bad enough that Rabbis have been turned into canvassers. Leave our food alone.

You know when anything gets too big, some other guys are gonna come along and try to grab a piece of the action. Kosher has been getting too big lately. Too popular. It was bound to happen. Now how do you grab a piece of the Kashrus action? You create a Liberal Hashgacha that has squat to do with Kosher and is all about stamping a union label on food disguised as a Hashgacha. Throw out all the euphemisms and that’s what the Hechsher Tzedek scam is all about.

Enough people have called the Hasgacha business a shakedown but Hechsher Tzedek adds a new layer to the shakedown. Forget about plants spending money on just paying the Rabbis and organizations who certify the food. With the Hechsher Tzedek you’ll be paying for union labor and environmental certification organizations. And the same unions collect their dues from their members and pass them on as donations to politicians and other liberal organizations, like the same ones that will be promoting Hechsher Tzedek no doubt. You wash my hand and I wash yours. You impose Hechsher Tzedek on food, kick back the money to the unions at the expense of the consumers, the unions pass along the money to politicians who do them some favors and pass it along to some of the same liberal Jewish groups as a little thank you. The Liberal Rabbis pushing it get to pose smugly against a self-righteous canvas. And you’re paying for it all! Can you smell the Tzedek on that Hechsher Tzedek?

See for all the Jews out there who actually care about the Halacha of Kashrut there’s a whole bunch of Jewish activists who can stuff themselves with cheeseburgers but stay up nights worrying about cows farting a hole through the sky into space. These same guys behind Hechsher Tzedek could give a rat’s ass about the price of Kosher meat but they stay up nights terrified that the Mexican illegals driving the truck might actually get deported back to Mexico after they’re caught molesting a kid for the fourth time. (No human being is illegal my ass.)

Now I’m all for freedom. Freedom of speech. Freedom of labeling. You want to create a certification program that says the meat has passed Al Gore’s high standards (except when it comes to the fish at his daughter’s wedding) and Michael Moore’s high union standards (except on his own shoots) be my freaking guest. Just don’t call it a Hechsher Tzedek and no disguising it as a Hechsher Tzedek doesn’t fool anyone except consumers. It’s a scam. And you bastards know its a scam. Kashrut has to do with the food. Hechsher Tzedek is focused on labor rights and environmental impact and all that other crap. It has to do with imposing an ideology on the food that is not Jewish. So stop trying to pass it off as Jewish.

Kashrut is about standards set down explicitly by G-d in the Torah. You don’t believe in the Torah, that’s your business, but we do. And the Torah tells us not to mix meat and milk. It tells us not to eat certain animals and birds and fish. It tells us which we may eat. That is Kashrut. The Hechsher Tzedek is not Kashrut. It is not Jewish.

You want to create a social values hasgacha, gey gezunter heit. You want to make sure that none of the food ever made a Guatemalan sad or made a penguin cry and has been approved by fifty thousand unions, go ahead. It’s your right. But don’t call it a Hechsher Tzedek, call it what it is. Approved By Al Gore.

Get Out Your Ouija Boards: The Facilitated Communication Train Rolls on to Idolsville

Now boys and girls those of you who were good remember that we talked about Facilitated Communication last week. Facilitated Communication or FC basically means that the parents, guardians or molesters of autistic kids use them as human Ouija boards guiding their hands around a pen or pencil to sketch out messages from the beyond. If you’re a Christian you believe those messages come from Jeebus. If you’re a New Ager, you believe they come from the wacky consciousness of a living universe. If you’re a Muslim you believe they come from a crazy hairy guy with anger management problems.

If you’re Jewish… ah if you’re Jewish you’re not supposed to be using mediums or ouija boards, human or otherwise. You’re supposed to rely on G-d and his Torah. But FC like most avodah zara finds its way into the frum world too where it has its defenders.

Picking up on this thread over at YeshivaWorld where my post was referenced

Now the introducer of this thread tries to claim that it’s not prophecy but some sort of “spiritual radar” (I’m sorry is spiritual radar a Torah term, where exactly does it originate from?) that tells you exactly what the weatherman would tell you.

I. personally, feel that there is no more prophecy here than one would get from the weatherman telling us that a storm is forming or is headed our way….The Autistics simply use information from a kind of spiritual radar source to give us warnings. To say that if we don’t do tshuva, trouble lies ahead, is far from a new prophecy. This has been repeated through the ages.

So it’s not prophecy is it? Let’s sum up prophecy. Hashem sends a navi to warn us that either we do Tesuvah or a coming catastrophe will befall us. That’s what the people here are doing. They are warning of a coming catastrophe and then warning people to do Tesuvah. It is literal prophecy. Look up Yonah or Yirmiyahu.

Yes we’re told all the time that we have to do tesuvah or bad things will happen. This is however a specific prediction combined with a command. That is the prerogative of a Navi.

Anyone can tell you that if you cross a red light bad things will happen. If however I tell you that if you cross a bad light, I sense that bad things will soon happen to you, I have moved from common sense to the realm of the supernatural making me either a prophet, a witch or a fraud. You pick.

Then there’s the even more dishonest argument that if this happened to these kids it could be for only one purpose alone!

we know, i hope everybody will agree on this one , that Hashem is in charge ,and all he does is for a reason. not reasons we can always understand .

Funny how often people begin arguments with this premise only when the whole thrust of their argument is that they know exactly why Hashem is doing it

when a person is a vegetable there is very little gashmiyus,and the neshama has no more boundaries,nothing can separate her from her Creator.and thus the abilty to actually become more of a neshama than a body.

That’s wacky theology at best. Is someone who’s dead from the neck down more neshama simply because he’s disconnected from a lot of gashmiyus things? Of if I lock you in a box and feed you through a straw for 20 years, do you become a malach? The theology that says Gashmiyus is evil in contrast to the spirit is absurdly Catholic.

So in other words by this logic if someone is physically cut off, clearly they’re receiving messages from heaven. After all why would Hashem do so otherwise?

The answer is we don’t know why. We don’t know why Hashem does things. We don’t know why kids wind up autistic or crippled for life or suffering from horrible diseases. WE DON’T KNOW.

Other people’s suffering and our own should encourage us to do Tesuvah. It should encourage us to be kind. It should not allow us to become deluded into believing we are hearing prophecies or to rely on superstition and mediums and other things forbidden explicitly by the Torah. At best they merely produce nonsense. At worst their sources may be something other than Hashem entirely.

Facilitated Communication: Just Say No to Mediums

Okay now we all know the Torah says no witchcraft. That means no building gingerbread houses and baking kids in EZ Bake ovens. No flying around on brooms on moonlight nights. No casting spells. No magical amulets, fortune telling, voodoo doctors, witch doctors and all the rest. Seems easy enough at least for those of us not addicted to the psychic hotline.

Oh right because see everything gets modernized. Remember King Shaul going to the Witch of Endor. Remember that they used to channel the dead. But yeah, nobody does that anymore, right?

Sure they do, they just call it by different names. That’s what a medium does but who really cares about mediums. It’s not like mediums are about to become a major issue for Jews. Oh but mediums come in different flavors. Instead of medium, try facilitated communication. Same idea but less filling.

The concept has been kicking around for a while and at first glance seems on par with the people who do the table rapping and the Ouija board juggling. They take autistic kids, the adult’s hand is on the kids and they begin ‘drawing’ messages supposedly from the autistic kids. Not a big deal until they began claiming that these messages represented some sort of higher spiritual plane of knowledge.

Not something most of us would need to take seriously normally except this has now somehow morphed its way into the loonier fringes of the Kabbalah world, where facilitated communication is supposedly producing prophecies or revelations from these autistic kids. Worse yet there are Rabbanim involved in this. How is Hashem not clear?

ד  כִּי הַגּוֹיִם הָאֵלֶּה, אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה יוֹרֵשׁ אוֹתָם–אֶל-מְעֹנְנִים וְאֶל-קֹסְמִים, יִשְׁמָעוּ; וְאַתָּה–לֹא כֵן, נָתַן לְךָ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ. 14 For these nations, that thou art to dispossess, hearken unto soothsayers, and unto diviners; but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.
טו  נָבִיא מִקִּרְבְּךָ מֵאַחֶיךָ כָּמֹנִי, יָקִים לְךָ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ:  אֵלָיו, תִּשְׁמָעוּן. 15 A prophet will the LORD thy God raise up unto thee, from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;

No witchcraft. No fortune tellers. No mediums, whether you call it facilitated communication or anything else. It is not Jewish. It has no place in Torah no matter how many times you quote the Rambam who would take a stick and beat you senseless if he had a clue what you were up to.

You are literally taking superstitious beliefs from the goyim, importing them and trying to make it Jewish.  Oh look, that’s what Moshe spent all that time warning us about. You want prophecies, study Tanach. You want to know what’s to come, study Daniel. Don’t take autistic kids, scrawl their hands around and start rambling about prophecies or revelations. You are not a navi nor are those kids. What you’re doing is explicitly forbidden by the Torah. It’s an abomination and it’s described as contaminating the land.

ט  כִּי אַתָּה בָּא אֶל-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר-יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לָךְ–לֹא-תִלְמַד לַעֲשׂוֹת, כְּתוֹעֲבֹת הַגּוֹיִם הָהֵם. 9 When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.

So cut it out.

Hi Everybody, I’m a Duplicitious Frummie

Yeah me, I’ve finally arrived. I always wanted to be a duplicitous frummie ever since I fell asleep listening to my first Lipa CD while dreaming of writing a Gedolim biography. Now somebody give me my freaking Lexus and give it to me fast, I’ve got a raffle for some yeshiva to go to.

What’s all that about? Oh yeah. Let me backtrack. There are two kinds of people in the world. Sane people and insane people. Sane people might be annoying and obnoxious but you can actually debate them because they’re in the real world. Insane people are paranoid nutjobs who crusade for some wacko cause that lives inside their heads while assuming instantly that everyone who disagrees with them is aligned with their enemies.

So when I wrote a post shredding David Kelsey’s rambling paranoid delusions about NCSY over on Jewschool, he responded with an even crazier post on his own blog,Duplicitous Frummie Defends NCSY P.S. Infestation and Haredi Recruitment. Duplicitous frummie? Yeah he doesn’t read this blog much does he. But paranoid people always have lots of enemies even if they have to make them up.

Anyway. Let’s look at Mohel’s actual rebuttals, which though explained only a little, in between Mohel’s very great and justified outrage at me daring to question NCSY’s role in public school high school education and their wonderful role in helping to get our kids (but only a minority! And fuck the minority!) to attend haredi institutions. And of course, Mohel is upset at my unbelievable “idiocy” and “stupidity,”

Outraged? Upset? Dude I think you’re an amusing nutjob. I reserve my outrage for things that actually kill people and your posts haven’t killed anyone except maybe people’s brain cells. I’m not outraged at you. I did you a favor by pointing out that your post was a ranting screed that destroyed any credibility you had and betrayed your batshit paranoia.

Who appointed you a spokesman for deciding that all those kids don’t want to go to Haredi institutions and that going there hurts them? Hell who appointed you a spokesman for anybody or anything? Guess what, institutions are a pro and con thing. MO and Haredi places all have their pros and cons. That’s what makes life great. You don’t want your kids going to Haredi institutions, don’t send them there. But I’ve seen BT’s, adult and teenagers, time and time again choose on their own to go to the harder line shuls and communities and yeshivas, even when I suggested otherwise. (And no I’m not in Kiruv.) It’s their choice. Choice, get it?

Most NCSY kids will not go to haredi institutions. So what? I am worried about the ones who do. I would also like the numbers for those who do, but NCSY has refused to reveal that annual number. Which makes me concerned it is not a low number at all.

Who appointed you to worry for them? If you read this blog I’m not the biggest fan of Haredim but going to Haredi schools isn’t a death sentence. It’s a choice. If you don’t like it, leave. I spent time in Haredi schools and I hated it. That helped define my identity. That’s what life experience is all about

Additionally, I do not believe that the public schools are the right place for recruiting even a minority of students into fundamentalism. It doesn’t take a majority for me to determine that this is a problem. That is simply not what public schools are for, and not something most liberal and secular Jewish parents understand is happening.

Yeah why should we interfere with the Southern Baptist Convention’s Bible clubs recruiting those kids. It’s gotta be better than the Haredim, right? And who exactly gave you the authority to decide that what you call “fundamentalism” is out of bounds? You don’t like their recruitment, set up your own and stop bitching about it.

Just as you are in our schools, you must allow us into your private Orthodox High Schools for our own “clubs.” And when I say us, I mean atheists, Reform Jews, Conservative Jews, and especially, Apikorsim.

Sure when your tax dollars are what’s paying for the schools and when they belong to the government, you have every right to demand that. You have no right to demand equal access to private schools. Remind me when Secular Humanism schools lets Chabad set up shop there. Seriously Dave, you know better than that.

Fair is fair. And there is nothing to fear. Right, Mr. Mohel? No reason for paranoia or hysteria. Let us come speak to the frum kids at your schools and at after school programs, just as you come to our schools and speak to our kids.

Sorry Dave, I have no kids but if I did, I wouldn’t let you anywhere near them. Or my dog. Or my silverware. Not because of your religion or lack thereof but I’m pretty sure you haven’t had your shots.

Let’s start with the school kids in your synagogue attend. No? Then get out of our public schools, or at least, shut up.

Look dude, they’re not your schools. Except in your warped brain. Now why don’t you get back on the meds, calm the f__ down and ease up on the anger. It’s not good for you, Dave.

NCSY are Evil Haredim?

Updated: Reply from David Kelsey and Rebuttal

Jewschool’s David Kelsey has an idiotic rant (even by Jewschool standards) claiming that NCSY is destroying liberal kids by seducing them with Havdalah and teaching them to hate America and the Scientific Method. No really he says this. What have the boys and girls at Jewschool been smoking for Havdalah?

The conflicts created from teens adopting the ideologies of the haredi institutions NCSY guides them to include (but are not limited to): A rejection of scientific method, in accordance with the haredi leaders they report to; a postponement of college indefinitely; a rejection of secular education as a worthy goal in itself; a rejection of full-time secular college; a preference for maximum halachic (Jewish Law) compliance (hardly restricted to kashrut); acceptance of stringencies not recognized as halacha outside of the ultra-Orthodox; anti-Americanism; encouragement of restrictive haredi garb; a rejection of friends and even family members who aren’t Orthodox; a contempt for Modern Orthodoxy; a belief that haredi leaders are near-infallible, an acceptance of inferior status within the ultra-Orthodox because of their niddah conception and non-Orthodox background.

And then the evil Rabbis lure the kids into their gingerbread houses and make them read Rabbi Avigdor Miller. The really funny thing about this nonsense is that this is a mirror image of the paranoid nonsense that Haredim tell you about college.

Using David Kelsey’s non-logic if you recommend kids go to college, you’re encouraging them to become atheists, have unprotected sex, hate America, steal MP3’s, binge drink, worship Richard Dawkins and begin a life of atheistic STD infected America hating MP3 stealing. That’s just as stupid as the paranoid worst case scenarios David Kelsey trots out at Jewschool.

Most NCSY kids will not go on to Haredi institutions and many who do might actually want to because they find them more philosophically compatible. Many of the adult Baal Teshuvas I met also wanted religious extremes. Many joined Chassidic groups. That was their choice.

Painting Haredi institutions with a worst case scenario brush as America, women and modern orthodox hating beasts is as bigoted and stupid as if a Haredi writer were to caricature Modern Orthodox institutions as casual toward Halacha, filled with promiscuous sex and dedicated to teaching kids to kill Arabs all day.

And NCSY has expanded the public school population they serve tremendously. They control over 170 clubs in our public schools. Rabbi Burg is the “dean” of the Jewish “Student” Union.

And next they’re taking over the world! First the public school club. Then America. Then the world. Then Mars! Then the last remnants of sanity in David Kelsey’s rotted brain! Then Alpha Centauri! Then DimensionX. There’s no stopping NCSY! Warn your kids! Warn your dogs! Warn your talking plants! Their “Dean” is coming after you!

Even in this attempt to appear moderate in a Jewish newswire that primarily services secular and liberal Jewry, NCSY’s leader utterly ignores the concerns of secular and liberal Jewry. Excuse me for feigning shock and surprise.

David Kelsey is whining about Kiruv and Baal Tesuvah groups using a liberal and secular blog as a forum and pretending they’re the devil. Excuse me for feigning shock and surprise. My advice, if you don’t like NCSY, do better. I was never part of NCSY. What I saw was Modern Orthodox lite kids a long way from Harediville. So relax and take deep breaths.